All year long, CDL drivers make difficult sacrifices as they work long hours, often far from home, to maintain a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure. For many drivers, these sacrifices are especially felt during the December holiday season.  


Not only does the increased demand of goods and services during the holiday season create a greater workload for many drivers, but being far from your loved ones can be much more difficult when you feel like you’re missing out on important events.  


This holiday season, you should remind yourself you aren’t alone. There are many ways to remain connected to your loved ones, even from hundreds of miles apart. Many drivers also find creative ways to make their trucks feel like home, while creating a community with fellow truck drivers.  


Will you be on the road this holiday season? Keep reading to find out the best ways to make the most of your time and bring the holiday spirit along for the ride.  


Celebrating While Miles Apart 

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to feel connected to your loved ones even when you’re far from home. Leverage technology such as FaceTime, Duo, Skype, and Zoom to give your family the gift of seeing you on Christmas morning! 


There are also apps such as Rave or Teleparty that allow you to stream the same movie or TV show across different devices no matter where you are, a perfect way to make sure you still get to watch your family’s favorite holiday movie.  


All of these platforms require cellular data or connection to wireless internet. Luckily, all of the major truck stop chains, many state welcoming centers, and other establishments such as McDonalds, provide Wi-Fi that is free and accessible to truckers.  


A True Trucker’s Holiday  

There are many CDL drivers who have spent every holiday season on the road and have become pros at celebrating no matter how far they are from home. Truckers across the country find ways to eat a holiday meal, decorate their truck, or celebrate with fellow drivers to make sure they never miss out on the holiday cheer. 


Photo by Ken White on Facebook

If your favorite part of the holiday season is the food, you’re in luck. There are many ways to make sure you don’t miss out on a home-cooked meal this December.  


Most major truck stop restaurant chains offer a holiday meal each year. Keep an eye out for advertisements which usually begin in November, and you’ll be able to find somewhere along your route to stop and celebrate with fellow drivers. However, some restaurants serve these meals on an RSVP basis, so double check when you’re planning where to stop.  


Another option, if you’re looking to save money and embrace the tradition of a home-cooked meal, is to make a holiday feast from the comfort of your own cab. Cooking from your truck is easier than it may seem, and there are countless recipes available online if you have a slow cooker, crock pot, or portable stove. Just make sure your truck has the power capabilities necessary for the job. An inverter and an auxiliary power unit (APU) work together so you can easily operate all these appliances, even when your truck is off.   


Many drivers also embrace a unique holiday tradition: decorating their truck. Drivers nationwide have found creative ways to make their truck feel more like home by decorating with lights, bows, and ornaments.  


Winter Safety  

Driving during the holiday season can be difficult for other reasons, too. This time of year can bring some pretty rough weather conditions, coupled with increased holiday traffic, making it extra important to be vigilant and careful while out on the road.  


Rushing to get a job done or to get back home is never worth the risk of collisions, jackknifes, or rollovers. If there are severe weather conditions that could impact visibility or overall safety, the best decision is always to wait it out on the side of the road. Maintain space from the vehicles around you, in case you have to make an emergency stop.  


Safety is important year round, but there are a couple of essential tips to keep in mind all winter long.  


  1. Don’t exceed driver hours of service.  In most cases this is a maximum of 11 hours on the road, including a 30 minute break every 8 hours. While you might be tempted to shorten the break or drive a little longer, these laws exist for a reason.  
  2. Maintain headlights. With lower visibility during the winter, shorter hours of daylight, and an increase of deer on the road, headlights will help you avoid dangerous situations at any time of the day.  
  3. Slow down when driving over bridges. Most drivers know that bridges freeze faster than roads, but it’s easy to forget when you’ve been driving all day. Bring yourself to a lower speed before crossing a bridge, avoiding slamming the brakes in case of black ice.  
  4. Don’t use the Jake Brake if the road is icy.  The compression release engine brake, also known as the Jake Brake, releases compressed air in the cylinders and will halt the wheels entirely. Your rig will skid across the ice if the conditions are slippery enough. Instead, put the truck into a lower gear and use regular friction brakes to maximize safety. 



Driving during the holiday season is hard, but it doesn’t have to feel impossible. Create new holiday traditions by remaining connected to your loved ones while celebrating on the road and staying safe all winter long.  


What are your OTR holiday traditions? Can you think of any advice that we left out? Be sure to reach out to us on social media about your experience driving during the holidays.